You might feel better about your annoying boss after whipping up some bomb vegan mac and cheese—explore cooking for stress relief!
We all have stress—in fact, you’re the odd one out if you don’t freak out now and then. Millennials are the most stressed generation, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association! Fortunately, there’s some good news: the benefits of cooking at home include helping us chill the hell out.
When you get home from work steaming about a stupid conflict, it’s pretty helpful to have an outlet at the ready… but who the hell has the time to go smack around some boards at Brazilian jiu-jitsu when you get home by six and have to cook dinner?
Hold up. Have to cook dinner?
Let’s flip that mindset for a sec. Say that you don’t have to cook dinner, but you get to cook dinner.
Hear us out before you write this off, but cooking could be the stress reliever you’ve been looking for all along. You get to chop the living daylights out of veggies, inhale the aromas of fresh herbs, and practice focusing on something that isn’t bothering you.
(Unless you really hate cooking—but we’re pretty sure we can change your mind.)
Plus, it’s already written into your schedule, so you don’t have to worry about pulling extra time out of your (busy AF) butt. Make cooking your hobby, your chance for some me-time, and a chance to chat with your partner while you julienne some beets—whatever turns that hour of your day from blah to huzzah!
Here are four benefits of cooking at home and the reasons it’s a great way to sauté the stress away!
1. Cooking gives you control
Does your stress come from a situation that you can’t control, like your boss dropping a complicated problem into your lap and expecting you to solve it yesterday? Or mandatory overtime when you genuinely want to be at home?
If you can’t change what’s bugging you, getting home and having a total reign over your kingdom (er, kitchen) can help you feel in control. In the kitchen, your word is the last word—and let’s face it, that feels good!
2. The benefits of cooking at home: You can reach a zen flow state
Ever hear of a state of flow? If you’ve ever run a race, the flow state is when you’re entirely focused on the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement. Nothing else matters (or exists!) until, suddenly, you’re on the other side of the finish line.
If you don’t run, you might have experienced the same state any time you’re totally immersed in an activity like playing video games, solving puzzles, playing a team sport, or executing a ballin’ dance routine.
It’s pretty hard to feel stressed out when you’re in the flow. In fact, experiencing flow can boost your happiness, productivity, and creativity until up to three days later!
3. The right foods can affect how you experience stress
If you know that certain foods are stress triggers for you, cooking at home helps you control your intake. Similarly, certain eats have stress-reducing properties, like:
- Matcha “displays a stress-reducing effect” as long as it has a caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate to theanine and arginine (CE to TA) ratio of 2 or less, according to a 2019 study.
- Swiss chard contains 36% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium—an essential player in controlling and experiencing stress.
- Sweet potatoes are a whole carb source that can help the body regulate cortisol, an important stress hormone.
- Fermented foods containing live probiotics “may serve as a low-risk intervention for reducing social anxiety,” according to a 2015 study.
These are just a few examples. High-quality proteins, fresh vegetables, whole carbs, and healthy oils (especially those found in fish!) are all good for the brain and the body. So, whatever you cook on the regular, make it healthy!
4. Cooking and catharsis are a relief-bringing combo
Are you a person who relieves pressure in a “somatic” way?
That’s a fancy, polite way of asking, “Do you want to smash and break things when you’re stressed out?”
If that’s the case, you probably find that the best way to destress after work is to beat the crap out of Punchbag Bob at the gym or drop into a karate session to break a couple of boards. But what about the days that are too busy to find the time?
Instead of buying pre-diced veggies, try picking up a good chef’s knife and see how GOOD it feels to prep dinner!
You might be rolling your eyes, but just try it. Or tenderize a tofurkey steak with a heavy mallet. Or whisk the actual life out of some farm-fresh eggs. You get the idea, right?
Explore the benefits of cooking at home with a little CBD on board!
Not everyone loves having company in the kitchen (Gordon Ramsay would blow his lid if he saw the way your BF dices bell peppers!), but it's fantastic to cook with a little Sunday Scaries!
Chilling out while you heat up the kitchen is way easier when you pop a couple of CBD gummies first. If you’re having trouble switching your perspective and seeing cooking as stress relief, CBD can take the edge off and get you feeling focused while you whip up whatever’s on the menu.